Can You Wash Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine?



Can You Wash Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine

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Yes, canvas shoes can be washed in the washing machine.

Canvas shoes are a popular footwear choice due to their comfort, versatility, and timeless style. However, they tend to accumulate dirt and grime over time, leading many people to wonder if they can toss their beloved canvas sneakers or slip-ons into the washing machine. The good news is that, yes, you can wash canvas shoes in the washing machine to rejuvenate their appearance and freshness.

This article will guide you through the dos and don’ts of this process, ensuring your canvas shoes come out looking as good as new.

Dos and Don’ts of Wash Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine


  • Preparation is Key: Before you start, remove any surface debris from your shoes by using a damp rag. This step will prevent excess dirt from clogging your washing machine.
  • Clean the Soles: Use a toothbrush and warm soapy water to clean the soles of your shoes. Rinse away any soap residue thoroughly. This will help eliminate any stubborn stains on the rubber or plastic parts.
  • Remove Insoles and Laces: If your canvas shoes have removable insoles and laces, take them out. Cleaning them separately ensures a more thorough cleaning process.
  • Use a Laundry Bag or Pillowcase: To protect your shoes during the wash cycle, place them inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This prevents them from getting tangled or damaged by the agitator.
  • Add a Towel: Including a towel in the wash with your shoes helps balance the load, preventing excessive spinning and potential damage to your washing machine or shoes.
  • Choose the Right Water Temperature: Opt for cold or warm water when washing canvas shoes. Using hot water may weaken the glue bonds in your shoes, potentially causing them to crack or melt.
  • Gentle Cycle with Extra Rinse: Select the gentle cycle on your washing machine and add an extra rinse cycle if possible. This ensures that all soap residues are thoroughly removed at the end of the wash.
  • Air-Dry Your Shoes: After the washing cycle is complete, it’s crucial to air-dry your canvas shoes. Avoid direct sunlight or heat sources, as these can cause your shoes to warp or fade. Instead, place them in a well-ventilated area.


  • Avoid Using Bleach: Never use bleach when washing canvas shoes. It can damage the fabric and alter the color.
  • Don’t Overload the Washing Machine: Ensure there is enough space for your shoes to move freely inside the machine. Overloading can result in ineffective cleaning and potential damage to your shoes.
  • Skip the Spin Cycle: It’s best to use little to no spin during the wash cycle. High-speed spinning can cause your shoes to lose their shape or become misshapen.
  • Don’t Use Fabric Softener: Fabric softeners can leave a residue on your canvas shoes, making them feel less fresh. Skip the fabric softener for this wash.
  • Avoid Using a Dryer: Never put your canvas shoes in the dryer. The heat can cause the glue to melt, resulting in deformed shoes.

Steps to Wash Canvas Shoes in the Washing Machine

Now that you know the dos and don’ts, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of washing your canvas shoes in the washing machine:

Step 1

Preparation: Remove any visible dirt or debris from your shoes using a damp cloth.

Step 2

Clean Soles and Remove Insoles and Laces: Scrub the soles of your shoes with a toothbrush and warm, soapy water. Rinse them thoroughly. If your insoles and laces are removable, take them out for separate cleaning.

Step 3

Place in Laundry Bag or Pillowcase: Put your canvas shoes inside a mesh laundry bag or pillowcase. This protects them during the wash cycle.

Step 4

Add a Towel: Place a towel in the washing machine along with your shoes to balance the load.

Step 5

Select the Right Settings: Use cold or warm water, depending on the shoe’s care instructions. Choose the gentle cycle and add an extra rinse cycle if available.

Step 6

Start the Wash: Start the washing machine and let it complete the cycle.

Step 7

Air-Dry: After the wash cycle is finished, remove your canvas shoes from the laundry bag or pillowcase. Allow them to air-dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. This may take some time, so be patient.

Alternative Washing Methods for Canvas Shoes

While the washing machine method is effective, some people may prefer alternative methods to clean their canvas shoes. Here are a few options:

  • Hand Washing: Fill a basin with cold or warm soapy water and gently scrub your canvas shoes with a soft brush or cloth. Rinse thoroughly and air-dry as mentioned earlier.
  • Spot Cleaning: If your canvas shoes have only minor stains or spots, you can use a mixture of mild detergent and water to spot-clean the affected areas.
  • Vinegar Solution: Create a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar to remove odors. Dab the solution onto the insoles and inner lining, then air-dry.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda inside your shoes to help absorb odors. Leave it overnight and shake out the excess before wearing your shoes.


Can I wash canvas shoes with other clothing items in the same load?

Answer: It’s best to wash canvas shoes separately or with other soft items like towels to prevent potential damage to your shoes or other garments.

How often should I wash my canvas shoes in the washing machine?

Answer: The frequency of washing depends on how often you wear your canvas shoes and the conditions they are exposed to. Generally, once every few months should be sufficient, but use your judgment based on their condition.

Are there special detergents for washing canvas shoes?

Answer: You can use a mild detergent or laundry soap for your canvas shoes. Avoid harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the fabric.

Can I use a shoe-specific laundry bag instead of a pillowcase or mesh bag?

Answer: Yes, shoe-specific laundry bags are designed to protect your shoes during the washing machine cycle and can be a good alternative.

Can I speed up the drying process by using a fan or heater?

Answer: While you can use a fan to improve air circulation, avoid using direct heat sources like heaters, as they can damage your shoes.

Final Words

Washing canvas shoes in the washing machine is a simple and effective way to revitalize your favorite footwear. By following the dos and don’ts outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your canvas shoes come out looking clean, fresh, and ready for many more adventures. Remember that proper care and maintenance can extend the life of your canvas shoes, so don’t hesitate to give them the attention they deserve.

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